People often ask me about the best places to eat out gluten free, and my stock answer is always “pick high end or low end, it’s the in-between that’s the problem”. The high end places (think Michelin stars, or nearly) have impeccable knowledge of ingredients, will adapt dishes without batting an eyelid and often have GF bread available. By ‘low end’ I in fact mean ‘chain restaurants’ which usually have detailed ingredients lists for you to peruse and a food preparation formula that can help you to feel safe. Zizzi is such a chain, but I wouldn’t describe it as ‘low end’ as in fact it’s very good quality and a little on the pricier side.
Despite catering to an odd mixed crowd of Tower of London tourists and us city types, this branch of Zizzi does well on atmosphere as well as food. There is a nice open kitchen, which on the one hand made me nervous watching as the gluter pizza flour is tossed about, but on the other hand means you can have a cheeky spy on your dish being prepared (at the other side of the kitchen from the dough at least!)
Every time I have been, the staff have known right away about the allergy menu which has easy to read symbols, and whilst operating at relaxed speed for a business lunch, have willingly adapted dishes to make them suitable for me. The only unfortunate side to this is the allergy menu has calorie ratings in so, like me, you might just guilt yourself into only having a salad – and that would be a shame because Zizzi gets full marks for availability of carbs as they stock gluten free pasta! Such a simple thing to do (all you need is a packet in the cupboard just in case), but makes the world of difference to me! The website is also awesome, as it has a full menu on it with a ‘gluten free’ filter which shows you the dishes you can have. The only think I could wish for is an ‘adaptability’ button to show which dishes could also be modified.
Last time I went the chef obviously felt sorry for me having wierdo pasta so gave me the biggest portion EVER resulting in an afternoon of desk-based snoozing, so this time I ordered prawns (new to the menu) with a mixed salad. This was a pretty good choice washed down with a nice glass of sauvignon blanc (so much for not snoozing). Salad was plenty interesting (with a dressing – hurrah!) and prawns looked nicely charcoaled in a tasty sauce. Only downside is that prawns in shells with a sauce make a right mess – some finger cleaning implements wouldn’t have gone amiss. Next time I plan to check out one of their new gluten free desserts – hurrah for choice!